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United States v. Jason Scharf

Closed Criminal Division Cases

United States v. Jason Scharf
Court Docket No.: 18-cr-00711 (C.D. California)

Court Assigned: This case is assigned to the Honorable George H. Wu, U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, United States Courthouse, 350 West 1st Street, Los Angeles, CA, 90012.

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Criminal Charges: On October 16, 2018, Jason Benjamin Scharf was charged in an information with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.  He pleaded guilty to the conspiracy on November 8, 2018.  As part of his guilty plea, Scharf admitted that from February 2013 through December 2015, he oversaw the day-to-day operations of Citrades as the company’s CEO, and that he agreed with his co-conspirators to induce investors to purchase binary options based on materially misleading misrepresentations and omissions.

In addition, Scharf admitted that representatives of Citrades falsely claimed to be representing the interests of investors in binary options, when in reality they were representing the financial interests of Citrades.  Scharf further admitted that while Citrades marketed itself as a trading platform through which binary options could be traded, investors were not actually trading with other investors.  Instead, they were investing in transactions whose parameters, including the “strike price” associated with the binary option, were set by a separate company that served as a platform provider.  Scharf admitted that Citrades operated its binary options business principally out of Israel, but had representatives and co-conspirators working on its behalf in the United States.  Scharf further admitted that after being served with an administrative subpoena, he deleted potentially incriminating emails from an account that he used to conduct Citrades-related business. 

For more information about the charges, please see below:

Scharf Press Release – November 8, 2018
Scharf Information
Scharf Plea Agreement

Victim Impact Statement: If you would like to submit a Victim Impact Statement (or a letter addressed to District Court Judge Wu) you may do so by mailing the attached Victim Impact Statement (or a letter to District Court Judge Wu) no later than July 29, 2019 to: Victim Witness Unit, U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division, Fraud Section, 10th & Constitution Avenue, NW, Bond Building, Room 4416, Washington, DC 20530. You also may submit the Victim Impact Statement via email at or by fax at: (202) 514-3708.

Victim Impact Statement (PDF)


The information on this website will be updated as new developments arise in the case. If you have any questions, please call the Victim Assistance Line toll-free at (888) 549-3945 or email us at

Presumption of Innocence: It is important to keep in mind that an indictment contains allegations only, and that defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty and that presumption requires both the court and our office to take certain steps to ensure that justice is served.

Crime Victims’ Rights Act and Right to Retain Counsel: The Crime Victims’ Rights Act (18 U.S.C. § 3771) applies only to victims of the counts charged in federal court, and thus individuals may not be able to exercise all of these rights if the crime of which the individual is a victim was not charged. Section 377I(c)(2) of this Act requires that we advise you that you have the right to retain counsel. Although the statute specifically sets forth your right to seek advice of an attorney with regard to your rights under the statute, there is no requirement that you retain counsel. The Government may not recommend any specific counsel, nor can the Government (or the Court) pay for counsel to represent you. Government attorneys represent the United States.

If you elect to obtain counsel to represent your interests, please have your attorney notify this office in writing at: U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division, Fraud Section, 10th & Constitution Avenue, NW, Bond Building, 4th Floor, Washington, DC 20530, Attention: Victim Witness Unit; fax: (202) 514-3708; or email: If you elect not to retain counsel to represent your interests, you do not need to do anything.

Plea Agreements: Please be aware that many criminal cases are resolved by plea agreement between the Department of Justice and the defendant. You should also know that it is not unusual for a defendant to seek to negotiate a plea agreement shortly before trial is scheduled to begin. Plea agreements can be made at any time and as late as the morning of trial, leaving little or no opportunity to provide notice to you of the date and time of the plea hearing. If the court schedules a plea hearing in this case, we will use our best efforts to notify you of available information as soon as practicable. If you want to inform the prosecutor of your views regarding potential plea agreements, or any other aspect of the case, please call the Victim Assistance Line toll-free at (888) 549-3945 or email us at, and we will put you in touch with the prosecutor.

Updated September 27, 2023